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  • Writer's pictureJohan Smith

Be a friend with integrity

During my primary school years (some day long, long ago…), I was a scout (Afrikaans ‘Voortrekker’) - a movement where I learnt that “your word is your honour”. At that time, I didn’t have a clue what it meant. Nowadays I know all too well because people “whose word is their honour”, are very scarce. In short, this is how one can define a person’s integrity. You must keep your word, promises and commitments. You cannot create an expectation and then renege on it as it suits you.

Integrity has everything to do with doing what you said you would. Yes, you can undertake and say something and then your circumstances may change radically thereafter. That’s exactly when integrity kicks in. It’s then that you have to be prepared to sacrifice and keep to your word despite difficult circumstances. That’s the measure of true friends: INTEGRITY.

Dag Hammarskjold has the following to say about integrity:

You don’t have to produce big and exceptional achievements to earn the respect of people. If you’re someone who can be trusted completely; if people know when you’ve said something, it is indeed so; if it is known that your promises are executed – in short, you are inside what you profess to be, then you’ll stun and impress more people than many of the one-day wonders who reach media headlines.

Psalm 15: 2-3 describes integrity perfectly:

The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others.

It is such an accurate description of someone who stands firm for the truth and who will never turn his back on a friend, even if circumstances changed and the friendship demands sacrifice. It’s a description of someone who won’t stab another in the back. Of course, nobody’s perfect. Of course, we all make mistakes and fall real hard, but integrity is one thing in your life for which you must fight and something you must chase and pursue with your whole being.

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